Standardized Testing may be here to stay, but there are creative ways to combat the anxiety many students feel when taking a test. While it’s likely that 20% or more of your students experience test anxiety, these ideas are great for all students – even the teacher!
Rethink Review! A certain amount of review is reasonable, but if your students are enduring week after week of practice tests, consider how this may affect their motivation and mindset during the actual test. If students are mentally exhausted from test prep, imagine how they’ll feel after a few days of the real thing! If you feel like you can’t give up any review time, make it fun! Use games and other fun activities to revisit skills in addition to traditional practices.
Practice Yoga! Designate a short period of time before testing to stretching, deep breaths, and silent meditation. Yoga helps calm the mind and inspire concentration.
Share a Joke of the Day! Laughter triggers a “feel good” sensation in the body and helps relieve stress. Collect enough jokes for the week or two of testing to share each morning. Have a good laugh with your students before it’s time to get serious!
Shoes or No Shoes? Every year during standardized testing week, I allowed my students to remove their shoes during testing. We’d talk about how the first thing people do when they get home to get comfy is take off their shoes. Since I wanted my students to feel relaxed during testing, I allowed them the choice of shoes or no shoes. There were some ground rules, however. No stinky or bare feet – clean socks only! Right after we take a restroom break and get settled to begin testing, remove your shoes and place them neatly on the floor beside your desk and leave them alone. Keep your feet still. Put your shoes back on after testing and before the next restroom break. My students loved this privilege and I loved that it didn’t break any testing rules!
Create Something Colorful! Did you know the brain is in meditation mode when you color? Coloring also helps reduce stress, stimulate the brain, and inspire positive thinking! I’m the kind of teacher who doesn’t just let my students color, but I believe in coloring and its positive benefits in the classroom. Coloring instead of doing morning work was another one of my testing traditions. Each student had a coloring packet and they’d take it out first thing in the morning. They were only allowed to take one crayon at a time to use so that when it was time to take a restroom break before testing, they’d only have one crayon to put away. If you’re looking for coloring pages, I have some great ones in my Teachers Pay Teachers store! Also, I’ve created one just for testing I hope your students like. This one is similar to my Do & Design Math Coloring Pages, but without the math. Download this FREE resource here: Inspirational Testing Poster
I hope you and your students have a positive, productive testing period!